During the summer, people are encouraged to get some extra exercise by cycling to work or taking a ride around the neighborhood. There are, however, a few precautions that should be considered to avoid any injuries during the summer season.

There are multiple musculoskeletal issues that arise when cycling for long periods. 60% of riders claim to have neck and back pain. In addition, the knee joint, Achilles tendon, and lumbar region are also frequently injured. Prolonged postural adaptations combined with repetitive limb movements are the main contributors to these injuries. Addressing issues associated with cycling injuries is the first step to ensuring the health and safety of everyone wishing to stay active during summer.

Improper bike fit is a contributing factor to a significant number of injuries. A key preventative measure would be to ensure that the bicycle seat, handlebars, and pedals are correctly adjusted and the bicycle is an appropriate size for the rider. Studies show that the saddle should be slightly elevated on the front end, and at a height where the rider is not rocking back-and-forth across the seat while riding. The width of the handlebars should be at shoulder distance and the food should be in a neutral position, with the ball of the foot sitting over the pedal axis.

To specifically avoid neck and back injuries, there should be a shortening in the handlebar reach where the rider does not have to hunch over. The elbows should be slightly flexed to avoid excess pressure in the elbow and shoulder joints. Knee pain, plantar fasciitis, and Achilles tendonitis are common injuries cause by a saddle that is too low or too far.

Riding in a narrow range of pedal resistance is most effective for human body functioning. Riding at too much resistance is another major cause of overuse problems. Therefore, riders should use lower gear ratios at a higher cadence. Studies also show how reducing the rider’s toe in angle is how far the foot is rotated medially to the knee. Decreasing the toe’s angle allows the frontal plane knee to align closer to a neutral position, which will therefore put decreased loading on the medial aspect of the knee.

Summers are for fun, not for injuries. Make sure to follow up on these tips for proper biking and ensure everyone’s safety this summer.

 

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S136085905000124

http://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4182160/

https://www.sciencedirect.com.proxy1.lib.uwo.ca/science/article/pii/S0268003315000194

https://www.sciencedirect.com.proxy1.lib.uwo.ca/afp/2001/0515/p2007.html